Orange County Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody matters are of critical importance to our clients. No matter a client’s profession or stage in life, if children are involved in a family law dispute, they want to ensure that their children are cared for and protected. Kaufman Steinberg helps parents in child custody disputes amicably agree to a parenting schedule when they can, or to litigate the issue when necessary.

Under state law, judges need to consider each child’s best interests when making child custody decisions. Important factors include the child’s age, health, emotional ties to each parent, ties to school and community, and any history of family abuse or neglect. California child custody laws focus on creating a parenting plan which spells out the details of a custody arrangement to serve your child’s best interests.

There are two types of child custody that parents can agree to amongst themselves, or failing that, a judge will order:

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the right to have the child live with a parent. When parents share joint physical custody, children live with both parents for significant periods of time. When a child resides primarily with one parent, that parent may have sole physical custody, while the other parent has visitation or parenting time with the child. Parents typically do not “visit” with their child/ren.

Legal Custody

If a parent has legal custody, that parent has the legal authority to make decisions about the child's education, health and upbringing, including the ability to decide the school the child will attend, religious education and practices, and the medical care the child will, and will not, receive. Legal custody can be sole (one parent) or joint (both parents).

If the parents share joint legal custody, but they cannot agree on a course of action for the child, the disagreement could be resolved by a judge, or through mediation. It’s not uncommon for one parent to have sole physical custody but both parents to have joint legal custody, allowing both to have input on important decisions. There are statutory preferences for custody and the attorneys at Kaufman Steinberg can educate and inform you about your rights and options.

Custody orders are not carved in stone. As time passes, children and parents age and change, and their needs may change as well. When a custody order no longer serves a child’s best interests, a party can request a change be made. If the parents can’t agree to a proposed change, the disagreement could be decided by a judge, guided by what’s in the child’s best interests.

Relocation issues arise as well, and this can be the most difficult decision a parent, and a court, will have to make. There are many factors to take into consideration when a relocation, or “move-away”, issue arises and we can assist you navigate through the process. When necessary, the use of an expert may be necessary which will be addressed in the course of the analysis.

If you believe a divorce and child custody issues will be in your future, or you’re an unmarried parent of a child and you want to formalize a custody arrangement for your child (or change an existing custody order), contact Kaufman Steinberg today so can be put in touch with a Child Custody Attorney Orange County and be informed about your situation, applicable laws, how they might be interpreted in your case and your best options moving forward.

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